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Posts Tagged ‘The Mote and the Beam’

What you probably know about human trafficking is horseshit.
–  Laura Lemoon

Lack of Evidence

A teenage girl riding in a car now constitutes “evidence” of “sex trafficking”:

Three people have been arrested on suspicion of human trafficking after a car transporting a 17-year-old girl was stopped in Preston…the…girl, who is from Romania, is now [in jail]…

Against Their Will

Sunitha Krishnan is a fanatic & compulsive liar who claims all sex workers are “victims” who are “raped by a hundred men a day.”  Is it any wonder that a person who quotes her as an “authority” finds sex workers’ desire for individual rights “surprising”?

…Prajwala…headed by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, is [a prison compound in which] hundreds of women and girls [abducted by cops] from brothels around India [are locked up for brainwashing]…The facility, funded by several [wealthy white prohibitionists], is surrounded by 20-foot high walls with barbed wire atop; its address is not publicly listed.  Dr. Krishnan explained that this level of security was needed [to keep] the women [imprisoned there from escaping with the help of friends outside]…What is surprising is that a number of women wanted to go back to their previous life as a prostitute…

It Looks Good On Paper

Another bullshit story touting bullshit “safe harbor” laws that allow “perfect victims” to expunge their records of prostitution charges after going through the hell that is the US “justice” system:

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee…signed into…law…a bill that…allows victims of human trafficking to clear prostitution convictions, even if the person convicted has been found guilty of committing other crimes…the “new measure states any motion filed to vacate a prostitution conviction must prove ‘by a preponderance of the evidence’ that the applicant’s conviction, along with any other crimes committed, was a result of being a ‘victim of trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree or promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor’”…

The Mote and the Beam

Two stinking piles of filth want to cut sex workers off from the banking system:

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren…and Marco Rubio…introduced legislation to aid financial institutions in identifying and reporting instances of [sex work]…so that offenders can be prosecuted…The End Banking for Human Traffickers Act would direct federal banking regulators to work with law enforcement and financial institutions to combat the use of the financial system for [sex work]…The bill would further increase collaboration between law enforcement and experts in financial crimes by adding financial intelligence and regulatory officers to the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and require the Task Force to…strengthen anti-money laundering programs…

Divided We Fall (#427)

Though Gay, Inc pointedly ignores the connection between queerdom & sex work, some Canadian writers refuse to follow suit:

…[In] conversion therapy…psychiatrists would attempt to suppress same-sex behaviour…by redirecting it toward the heterosexual norm.  In other words, the dominant culture sought to impose itself on sexual expression deemed morally objectionable…”John school” has now replaced conversion therapy as a form of state-sanctioned brainwashing that attempts to label purchased sex as a repugnant, unnatural vice…john school engages in psychological repression…Ottawa Citizen…editor Tyler Dawson accurately refers to these therapy sessions as “creepy re-education nights run by the Salvation Army”…For anti-prostitution activists, it’s not enough that johns change their behaviour: they must also change their preferences.  Men are told not only that their sexual choices are wrong, but that no “normal” adult would engage in this kind of depravity…advocates of john school continue to stigmatize paid sex between consenting heterosexual adults in private in the same way that the state once stigmatized sex between consenting homosexual adults in private…

Cardboard Cutouts

Liz Brown discusses “Why Is Everyone So Willing to Believe ‘Fake News’ About Sex Trafficking?”

All Wet

Better headline: “Korean Men More Honest About Sex Buying Than Western Men“:

More than half of Korean men have paid for sex at least once in their life, a government report showed…Nearly 26 percent of them had engaged prostitutes in the past year and did so 8.46 times per year on average.  The majority of men who had paid for sex, or 53.8 percent, first did so when they were aged between 20 and 24, followed by those aged 25-29 (27.6 percent), 30-34 (10.2 percent) and those under 20 (3.9 percent)…According to a survey of 174 sex workers, 75.6 percent of them were in their 30s.  Nearly 48 percent of prostitutes first turned to prostitution in their 20s, while nearly 22 percent began as teenagers…

Fallen Idol

Serial rapist & consent violator James Deen is trying to reframe himself as a protector of children:

…In the last 10 years we have had more free pornography at your fingertips than ever before, to a point where people are no longer learning about sexuality…This is something that is made for a purpose, this is not an example of what sex is, this is people having sex for entertainment…Now, a child, an 11-year-old child, anyone at any age could go to a myriad of places on the internet and be exposed to endless amounts of content…8- or 9-year-olds are not able to properly process what this is.  Especially when it’s not just, “Here are two people kissing and some standard sex.”  It’s some crazy stuff.  And I think now that people…are…seeing these examples, regularly, for years and years and years, of what they believe to be sex…

Droit du Seigneur (#641) 

It’s been an astounding week for abuses of power and sexual violence committed by state agents“:

…In New York City alone, one former cop is on trial for running for running a prostitution ring, another was sentenced to federal prison for soliciting child pornography from mothers he met online, and three others have been indicted on suspicion of trading gun permits for sex, travel, and cash…in…Atlanta, Georgia…arrests continue in a police take-down of two escort services…that also ensnared Gwinnett County Assistant District Attorney Christopher Quinn in January.  Quinn was caught on camera paying for and having sex with a woman who worked for one of the escort agencies….[in] the U.S. territory of Guam…Paul John Santos…was found guilty this week of criminal sexual conduct, bribery, and official misconduct after threatening to arrest a sex worker if she didn’t have sex with him…The judge sentenced him to 21 years.  That sort of punishment for sex-predator cops is rare…In Memphis, Tennessee, Sergeant Erskine Caldwell…was reported to Internal Affairs by his fellow officers after they spotted him several times with a known sex-worker in his patrol car…Caldwell had harassed her until she complied with his sexual demands…

Just Another Day in America

A Truthout article echoes what I said in the original of this title:

“Our collective focus on police shootings overshadows the reality of what is going on for women on a daily basis,” said Jacqueline Robarge of Power Inside…”The way the police engage women, especially Black women and sex workers, creates a culture of violence.  The police use a variety of tactics, including harassment, physical and sexual violence, medical neglect in police custody”…The DOJ investigation prompted by [Freddie] Gray’s killing revealed a number of instances in which Baltimore police officers extorted sex from women they alleged were engaged in prostitution or drug-related activities.  The women’s complaints were poorly and partially investigated, if at all, with little or no consequences for the officers involved…a 2014 study by Johns Hopkins University found that 6 percent of…Baltimore [sex workers] had been [raped by cops]…within a given month.  In Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color, I summarize the sizeable body of research revealing that the police sexual violence found by the DOJ in Baltimore, and committed by now infamous Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw, is alarmingly commonplace across the country…

Pimps Ahoy 

The rescue industry is nasty from every angle:

…Cisgender men, trans folks and anyone who is gender-nonconforming are not going to receive help from these organizations because they don’t fit the stereotype of the sex-trafficking victim in a way that lets these “rescuers” be rescuers.  The involvement of government in the suppression and oppression of trafficking survivors also cannot be overlooked…government sanctioning of the maltreatment and exploitation of trafficking survivors is an example of how the current…rescue system is allowed to proliferate…An astonishing 80 percent of survivors who go into [one particular Midwest] shelter end up getting kicked out with a “red dot” status, which means they can’t come back or even engage in any other services…Amber Paulina of Seattle…shares…how two church elders, with no experience or education, opened a residential facility for trafficked girls.  She was forced to call the executive director “Mom” and her husband “Dad” — they called all the girls their “daughters”…Amber was grilled about her masturbation habits and was forced to write book reports on “famous” survivors like Rachel Lloyd.  “I made bracelets for five bucks a pop that were flipped over at nine bucks a pop en masse at anti-trafficking events and at local boutiques.  All material donated.  ‘Made by trafficking survivor’ bracelets.  All the time.  For money.  Unpaid,” Amber says…

I’m Sure You Feel Safer Now (#696) 

Another case in which a filthy vice pig tricks a desperate survival sex worker with an offer of money plus food so as to ensure public ridicule by the bootlicking press:

Florida [pigs] have charged a [desperately poor] woman with prostitution after she agreed to perform a sex act on an undercover detective for $25 and chicken McNuggets…Alex Direeno was being held…without bond at the Manatee County Jail on charges of prostitution, possession of drug paraphernalia and on outstanding warrants…It’s unclear whether Direeno has retained an attorney.

“Retained an attorney”?  Really?  With what currency?  The $25 they promised her, then stole as “evidence”?

The War Goes On (#711) 

The profound stupidity of lawheads is a marvel to behold:

[Sleazy] vice [pigs] in Metro Atlanta say Backpage.com is still a marketplace for prostitution, despite the fact that Backpage removed its adult escort section…in January…[stenographer] Mark Winne spent days [masturbating while following] the DeKalb County…Vice Unit and [is parroting cop propaganda about] how Backpage is still the go-to website for sex trafficking…[Head] Vice [pig] Curtis Williams told Winne that ads for prostitution…simply moved to elsewhere on the site…Winne…asked [one of the cops’ victims], “How come you turned down that officer’s offer of help?”  “Cause I don’t want it!” She said…

“Offer of help”.  Is Winne a grown man and university graduate?  This is the level of critical thinking I’d expect from someone who still believes in the Easter Bunny.

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The producers [of an anti-porn video] lied.  Flat out.  –  Tyler Knight

Cops and Condoms

Amateur women: take a hint from whores, and assume any strange man you allow to fuck you is going to try to remove the condom:

Alexandra Brodsky…spoke with a number of people, mostly women, who have experienced nonconsensual condom removal…two common themes…appeared in her conversations:  “The first is that, unsurprisingly, survivors fear unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections…The second is that…survivors experienced nonconsensual condom removal as a clear violation of their bodily autonomy and the trust they had mistakenly placed in their sexual partner”…she…came across the term “stealthing” and discovered narratives from actual perpetrators teaching others how to exercise their “natural male right”…One…article…penned by…the username onesickmind…documented “a comprehensive guide” to stealth sex on the website Experience Project, including suggestions on how to get away with condom removal…

No, this isn’t “rape-adjacent”; it’s rape, pure and simple.  It’s a violation of the conditions of consent, which is rape.  And no, this isn’t a “movement” and it isn’t “growing”.  A certain percentage of men have always been this entitled, stupid & self-destructive.

Worse Than I Thought

Politicians are fond of saying their laws “send a message”.  The message sent by this one is, “women are moral imbeciles whose consent is immaterial, like young children”:

The PA Human Trafficking Statute provides a very specific and comprehensive list of 14 factual scenarios that cannot be relied upon as a defense to a civil action brought pursuant to the statute.  This list of “nondefenses” is as follows…The victim of the sex trade and the defendant had a consensual sexual relationship…The victim of the sex trade was paid or otherwise compensated for sex trade activity…The victim of the sex trade made no attempt to escape, flee or otherwise terminate the contact with the defendant…The victim of the sex trade consented to engage in sex trade activity…

Back and Forth 

Despite all the Dutch anti-whore campaigns, it’s nice to see this:

Mariska Majoor, founder of the Prostitution Information Center (PIC) and PROUD, the Dutch union for sex workers…received [a] knighthood for her contribution to sex workers rights in The Netherlands…for more than 20 years.  Mariska dedicated the honorable award to all sex workers…

The Missing Word

So having control of another person working at low wages & poor conditions as a nanny isn’t immoral, but working for oneself at a more lucrative job is.  Got that?

Dubai: A babysitter has been accused of working as prostitute during a random inspection visit by a municipality inspector, who found her rendering sexual services at a massage spa.  The 27-year-old Bangladeshi woman…was said to have absconded from sponsor’s house…in April 2016…the inspector found her involved in immoral practices…

The Widening Gyre (#441)

They finally realized they could expand the panic by adding male “sex slaves”:

D.C. police report there are almost as many missing young men as there are missing young women.  As of April 20 there have been reports of 550 missing young women and 534 missing young men this year…Runaways can also be victims of sex trafficking, but officials said gender can be a barrier in identifying victims…

In actuality, 92% of runaways return home, 86% within a week.

Soap Opera (#441)

A high-tech version of the “barcode tattoo” myth:

At the Second Annual Southern Indiana Human Trafficking Awareness Conference…the keynote speaker told the audience…”Tracking chips are becoming more popular in sex trafficking victims, as well.  They’re often found on victims’ hands between the forefinger and the thumb, as well as underneath their arms and on their necks“…So I asked David Finkelhor, director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, if trafficking victims were actually being chipped. His reply:  “No.”  And while I had his attention, I also asked: “Have you heard of any children under age 10 kidnapped by strangers for sex trafficking in the U.S.?”  His answer?  “No”…

The Widening Gyre (#597)

“Sex trafficking terrorists”.  Because one moral panic at a time isn’t enough any more:

In 2015, the Europol European Police Office warned of the ever closer links between terrorist groups and criminal organizations….when it comes to money laundering, trafficking or falsification of passports.  [New propaganda]…adds…trafficking in human beings, and thus prostitution…jihadists…[are] sending young Iraqi and Syrian women to Turkey to resell 20,000 dollars per head to local criminal networks…

Saving Them From Themselves (#626)

Lowered penalties for teen sexting may sound like a step in the right direction, but in actuality they simply encourage prosecutors to file more charges for behavior that isn’t even criminal in the first place:

A new bill proposed this week in Massachusetts aims to stop treating teen sexters like child pornographers.  Instead, the law would allow [but not require] the alternative of an educational diversion program — like traffic school, only for underage naked selfies…The bill directs courts to send sexting teens directly into an educational program instead of going through the juvenile justice system, unless the district attorney objects [emphasis mine].  When prosecution is considered [fun and profitable by the DA], the bill classifies the offense of “engaging in peer to peer dissemination of explicit visual material” as a misdemeanor and specifically states that it “shall not be deemed a ‘sex offense.’” It also directs schools to…“provide [anti-sex mumbo-jumbo propaganda to traumatize teens for the ‘crime’ of being sexual beings]”…

The Mote and the Beam (#728)

ESPLERP has started a petition to fight politicians who want to destroy the internet:

…the No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act…would change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act so that companies like Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat could be held liable if [someone claims] a minor is trafficked on their sites…Maxine Doogan, president of [ESPLERP], accused [bill sponsor Ann] Wagner of exploiting concerns about sex trafficking to undercut internet freedoms…The…petition [against this new censorship law] has accrued 19,000 signatures already…

The Pro-Rape Coalition (#734) 

The offenses committed by Rashida Jones & company are even worse than we thought:

In the past few days alone, a host of porn performers and producers have come forward with allegations of unethical practices, from using sex workers’ images in the series without their consent to lying to them about the nature of the series and Jones’ involvement in it.  Several adult-film workers…were mislead about who was behind the project.  The original movie’s moralizing, breathless, and often biased take on the porn industry made it anathema among adult entertainers, and these workers say they would not have participated in the series had they known it was from Rashida Jones or other producers of the original…porn performer Tyler Knight wrote…”I asked members [of] the production several times.  The producers lied.  Flat out…it was under this false pretense that they sought access to people and productions…who would otherwise have declined had they been informed”…producer and performer Jay Taylor concurred with Knight. “They lied about the nature of the project to get us to sign releases…We ASKED if it was HGW, and they swore up and down it wasn’t”…

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The civil rights victory of the near future will be led by heroes with Twitter handles like @mistressmatisse, @SavannahSly, and @Maggie_McNeill.  –  Brendan Trainor

My Body, My Choice

An argument I’ve often made myself:

The belief that you should be able to ingest any substance…because you own your own body is a profoundly libertarian, not progressive, idea…It was the progressives who gave us alcohol prohibition in the first place…Progressivism is the belief that good things come from government—from laws and regulations and central planning and generals and spies and bureaucrats…it is none of the state’s business whether you buy sex with flowers and dinner, or with marriage and mortgage, or with cold hard cash on the dresser…The feminist establishment will soon be forced to accept women’s dominion over body parts besides the womb.

I Swear To God

Remember, the SCOTUS reaffirmed the unconstitutionality of loyalty oaths just a few years ago:

Manchester [New Hampshire] police officials said…they want to see Kate D’Adamo, who has advocated for the [decriminalization] of prostitution, fired from her job overseeing a federally funded task force designed to [suppress sex work] in the state.  Assistant Police Chief Carlo Capano said D’Adamo’s statements last week, in which she reportedly presented arguments in favor of the decriminalization of prostitution, potentially violated the federal grant that pays her salary…“Obviously, we’re a little concerned that Kate’s personal opinions are becoming a distraction to [our trying to destroy the lives of sex workers],” said Maria Gagnon…According to…stipulations of the grant, the Manchester Police Department cannot promote, support or advocate for the legalization of prostitution…

Bottleneck 

There are so many reasons sex worker licensing is a bad idea; here’s another:

In Palm Beach County, Florida, all topless dancers are required to register with county officials and obtain an Adult Entertainment Work Identification Card (AEIC), at the cost of $75 per year…Anita Pedemey… “diverted” at least $28,875 (and possibly an additional $3,305) from county coffers between October 2013 and mid-November 2016…from both adult-entertainer fees—approximately 70 percent of which were paid in cash—and court-ordered payments intended for a crime Victims Services Fund…Because she manipulated reports but left the underlying database unaltered, the county still received records of adult-entertainment ID applications even if accounting never received their payments, which means that at least most applicants whose money was taken were still legitimately registered with the county…

Remember, New South Wales decriminalized sex work specifically because corruption like this (and far worse) was rampant.

Standard Operating Procedure

If only amateurs realized that this is the norm, not a deviation from it:

…a Secret Service agent on Vice President Mike Pence’s detail has been suspended from official duties after meeting a prostitute at a Maryland hotel…police saw him exiting the hotel…[after responding] to a [snitch] from the hotel manager…The agent was arrested and was charged with solicitation.  He then self-reported his arrest to the Secret Service…the agent was off-duty and did not present himself in his official capacity…

Seriously, I have had more G-men between my legs than most amateur women have had of any kind of man.  Show me a G-man who’s never been with a whore & I’ll show you a rookie.

Blunt Instrument

Massage parlor pogroms are coming to Canada:

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre is asking for the power to crack down on…massage parlours…he wants the city to be able to shut down businesses engaging in such activity by revoking their certificates of occupancy…The director of the Montreal-based sex work organization Chez Stella, Sandra Wesley, says shutting down massage parlours will do more harm than good…”If [Coderre’s] going to go after massage parlours, then he’s going after migrant women,” she…says…closing massage parlours won’t end the sex trade — it will only make it more dangerous for sex workers…[and that] Coderre and others are using sex workers as “pawns in their next re-election campaign”…

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

The censors who want the internet destroyed are at it again:

A…new House measure, sponsored by…Ann Wagner…and dubbed the “No Immunity for Sex Traffickers Online Act,” would carve out an exception to Section 230 for sex-trafficking offenses involving minors.  Supporters portray it as a way to “hold sex traffickers accountable,” but we already have sufficient penalties—at the state and federal level—for people who force, decieve, or coerce others into prostitution…What the change would do is make it possible for states to indict any app, website, or platform that introduces an underage person to a possible sex buyer as a conspirator in sex trafficking.  And it would allow any underage person who was paid for sex to subsequently sue any website or web service remotely involved in the transaction…the change would not merely apply to classified-ad sites like Backpage, or to sites and services specializing in escort advertising…With the proposed change, victims will have the right to sue any third-party web service that enabled their participation or exploitation in the sex trade.  And in this case, victim means anyone under 18 whom someone paid for sex, regardless of whether any force, fraud, coercion, or middlemen and women were involved…It gives victims—most of whom fall prey to petty pimps with few assets, not organized criminals—a civil-suit target with much deeper pockets than the criminals who exploited them, and the same for state prosecutors with asset-forfeiture fever…A huge number of “child sex trafficking stings” in this country involve police posing online as sex workers…and, once a customer is interested, “admitting” that they’re actually underage (usually 16 or 17).  The men who still agree to meet for sex are greeted by police officers and charged with…child sex trafficking.  Their vehicles and sometimes other assets are seized.  Imagine if cops could do this sort of “random virtue testing” (as Ars Technica‘s Nate Anderson aptly described it) but then go after big web publishers and platforms instead of just impounding a few cars…

Bad Girls (#540) 

American “authorities” are dedicated to the philosophy that anyone who ever did anything wrong should keep paying for it, forever:

A prostitute who injected a Google executive with a lethal dose of heroin in 2013 while aboard his yacht in Santa Cruz harbor and spent more than two years in jail was taken into custody by federal immigration agents as soon as she was released…Alix Tichelman — who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 51-year-old Forrest Hayes — was released by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office around 5 a.m. on [March 29th]…ICE agents waiting outside the jail in the predawn hours came into the building to detain Tichelman…

Aversions (#642)

Miranda Kane on annoying clients:

The (non) expert…[wants to] get his own rocks off by thinking he’s amazing in bed, when all he’s really done is delivered a few sloppy snogs while rubbing my cunt in a style that makes me think he wants a genie to pop out of my vagina…The bashful one…will…stay silent, move with about as much enthusiasm as a gutted fish, and 55 minutes into an hour appointment he’ll say:  “Umm…this was nice, but really all I wanted was to lick your feet with a dildo up my arse, dance for you wearing women’s stockings while you sang the greatest hits from the popular disco band Boney M”…

Challenge (#677)

Laura Lee on the possible wider effects of her challenge to the Swedish model in Northern Ireland:

Sex worker and law graduate Laura Lee is steeling herself for a battle in Belfast’s high court that she believes could make European legal history…Lee…[is] aiming to establish that the criminalisation of her clients violates her right to work under European human rights law…[this] is only the start of a Europe-wide campaign to overturn the model…Lee’s next target is the Irish Republic, which…has introduced a similar ban aimed at criminalising clients.  “A win for us in Belfast will have a knock-on effect and set a precedent across Europe.  If successful up north there will be a challenge in Dublin and sex workers across Europe can use the precedent to overturn the so-called ‘Nordic model’ in their countries,” she said…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#718) 

“Competition” from fancy fleshlights?  Really, ladies, calm down:

Europe’s first sex robot [arcade] has been forced to move after real-life prostitutes complained sex dolls were stealing their trade.  The original location in Barcelona at 2 Baixada de Sant Miquel had been in the Spanish city’s Gothic quarter, north of the cathedral…[it] has now moved to a mystery new location with a receptionist saying the address would only be given out to paying customers.  Prostitutes who work in the city with Aprosex – the Association of Sex Professionals – objected saying a doll cannot match the services of a real person and denigrates real sex workers to merely being an object…

Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs (#720)

More on the oppression of Ukrainian sex workers:

Ukraine used to be depicted as a paradise for sex tourists.  The news that the country would co-host the European Football Championship in 2012 was followed by…moral panic…the city of Kropyvnytsky, in central Ukraine, is…home to Legalife, Ukraine’s leading sex workers’ organisation…Their organisation got its start following an episode of police abuse in 2009, when Isaeva, a former sex worker who conducted outreach work with sex workers, was unlawfully detained by an anti-trafficking police unit.  They threatened to charge her with pimping, and when Isaeva tried to file a complaint the next day, there was no trace of her detention.  She did, however, obtain an apology.  The head of the anti-trafficking unit was transferred and the officers’ bonuses slashed.  This incident prompted the women to stand for sex workers’ rights, attracting the attention of international donors such as Open Society who have funded Legalife ever since…

The Widening Gyre (#726) 

Ah, the delicious schadenfreude of prohibitionists’ lies coming back to bite them in the arse:

A viral Facebook entry about child sex trafficking posted by…Diandra Toyos…is a misinformed and ultimately harmful depiction of what this crime is about…There are zero indicators of human trafficking in Toyos’ story…it so misrepresents the dangers, warning signs and risks associated with sex trafficking that its readers and likers may now try to protect kids by watching for the wrong things in the wrong places…I’m a professional in the anti-trafficking field, and…I have never seen, read or heard about a real sex-trafficking situation in which a child was abducted by traffickers in broad daylight at a busy store under a mother’s watchful eye…The most pernicious part of the viral Facebook post is its comments section.  As sex-trafficking survivors and anti-trafficking advocates — myself included — tried to correct the misconceptions in it, and tried to alert the public to the harms caused by misunderstandings and sensationalism, we were met with anger and outrage.  Sound bite quotes and statistics were thrown back at me in an attempt to highlight my “ignorance” on the subject.  “Human trafficking happens everywhere,” I was reminded. “It’s in our own backyards.”  These are the exact phrases my colleagues and the anti-trafficking movement publicized years ago to raise awareness. We never imagined they’d be used to challenge our own expertise and in defense of efforts that threaten victims…

Here’s some free advice, Miss “Trafficking Expert”:  if you don’t want hysteria, don’t promote it yourself.  And if you want people to defer to “experts” on prostitution, you need to set an example by shutting the fuck up, sitting the fuck down and listening to the real experts, sex workers themselves.

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So what if…women…are doing this…of their own free will? – Rachel Moran

The Immunity Syndrome pornhub-sexual-wellness-center

Porn isn’t sex education, but Pornhub supports it:

Porn is often blamed for miseducating people about sex…[and] members of the adult industry often counter that porn is simply entertainment and shouldn’t be expected to teach the public about the birds and the bees — but now Pornhub, one of the world’s most popular tube sites, has decided to get in the game of sex education.  On Wednesday, the site launched its new Sexual Wellness Center, an online sex-ed hub run by Dr. Laurie Betito…It has information about everything from the female reproductive system to sexually transmitted infections to testicular cancer. Betito will answer reader questions about love and romance…“[W]e wanted to provide our fans with a trusted educational platform they can utilize as their go-to resource for information and advice when it comes to sex,” said Corey Price, Pornhub’s vice president…

Shift in the Wind

While the prohibitionists continue to scream their filthy fantasies at the top of their lungs, thoughtful people are quietly coming to realize how truly awful anti-sex laws actually are:

To better control their working conditions, sex workers need the removal of punitive sex work laws, rights to security, and to be regarded as authorities in what does and does not improve their lives…Even though sex work was legalized in Hungary in 1999, sex workers continue to face mistreatment by police and other authorities…sex workers are routinely and arbitrarily fined, arrested, and detained under vague laws.  Sex workers are also regularly targeted for administrative fines on unsubstantiated grounds, such as littering or violating pedestrian or traffic regulations, in order to meet police quotas…As a result of regulations that are impossible to comply with for the majority of sex workers…a significant proportion of sex work continues to takes place illegally, even though sex work is officially legal…In a 2011 survey…more than 10 percent of the 246 respondents had been [raped] by…police…and 43.4 percent…had experienced verbal or physical assault by authorities…

Smoke and Mirrors

Another of those cases whose reported details don’t add up:

Marcel RaAnthony Richard…is charged with human trafficking and compelling prostitution.  If convicted, he faces up to life in prison…The teen, who is not being named because she is the victim of an alleged sex crime, has a history of using suggestive screen names and chatting online about sex with older men…The teen’s testimony…was peppered with “I do not recall” and “I do not know.”  She was often unclear about dates, times and events…She testified Richard had posted classified ads on Backpages.com [sic].  The ads…included…photos of a woman that was clearly not the teen…she [also] testified that she was high when she first talked with police and…[some things she said then weren’t] true…police were unable to find any specific locations [she described] nor could they locate any of the other people that the teen said she came in contact with [while supposedly being pimped by Richard]…

Checklist

Huge sums of money given to cops to inflict violence on adults for consensual sex is, alas, not news these days.  But the NYPD is being given a new list of “sex trafficking signs” that describe a very large segment of the population:

New York City…[is creating] a dedicated hotline that will allow [people to rat sex workers out to the cops]…the Vice Unit has been restructured, including the addition of 25 more detectives who will [actively hunt sex workers full-time and]…placing a greater emphasis on pimps and johns…Some of the warning signs people may exhibit are:

  • Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse
  • Lack of memory of recent events
  • Limited freedom of movement
  • Being unpaid or paid very little
  • Having limited access to medical care
  • Seeming to be in debt to someone
  • Working excessively long or unusual hours
  • Having high security measures in the work and/or living locations
  • Showing signs of fear, anxiety, depression, tension, or paranoia
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Having a strong fear of authorities
  • Appearing malnourished or showing signs of repeated chemical exposure
  • Having numerous inconsistencies in his/her story…

Most of the US population is “in debt to someone”, and most women, minorities & young people will show signs of “strong fear” of pigs who are harassing & questioning them about personal matters, including so-called “inconsistencies” due to the disorienting tactics cops intentionally use during interrogation.

Real People (#422) 

A profile of the woman who set up a home for retired sex workers in Mexico City:

After years of working the streets of Mexico City, Carmen Munoz wondered what happened to sex workers like her when they got old – so…for the next 13 years she lobbied the city authorities to provide a retirement home for elderly and homeless sex workers.  With the support of several well-known artists, neighbours from the Merced and fellow sex workers, she finally persuaded them.  The city gave them a large 18th Century building, just a few blocks from Plaza Loreto…It took a lot of work to clean up the building, a former boxing museum, but in 2006 the first women moved in.  They named the shelter Casa Xochiquetzal, after the Aztec goddess of women’s beauty and sexual power…

To Molest and Rape 

Stop faking!

A federal lawsuit brought by a Cincinnati woman against several guards and medical staff from the Warren County Jail [states that she]…was held at the jail in May 2013, after turning herself in on a four-year-old warrant for deception to obtain drugs…the jail’s nurses refused to give the woman her prescribed medicine for her epilepsy, causing her to experience seizures and withdrawal, leaving her debilitated in her jail cell…her jailers [then] Tased her, [stripped] her…turned off her running water and forced her to drink out of the toilet…[they then] held…[her] facedown…[and] at least two [pigs]…climbed on her and raped her…and…orthopedic surgeon said bone shattered on her shoulder was caused by blunt-force trauma consistent with sexual assault and would later have to be surgically treated…six days into her sentence, the woman was sent to the hospital by her tormentors, where doctors found sperm in her urine…one of the defendant nurses, Krys Lambert…said that the inmate was “playing” them, and even refused to give her medications after the jail doctor prescribed them…the guards covered the windows with black garbage bags to conceal the assault…

The Public Eye (#639) jacqthestripper-not-like-other-guys

Sex workers reaching out to the public via art:

Sex workers…are celebrated in We’re Still Working: The Art of Sex Work, a stellar exhibition at SOMArts Cultural Center [in San Francisco], on view through Feb. 25…Comprising pieces created by artists who, in one fashion or another, identify as sex workers, We’re Still Working presents an array of experiences in an industry condemned by the majority of Americans as immoral and threatening to public health and safety.  To counter assumptions and harmful stereotypes about who sex workers are personally and professionally, co-curators Maxine Holloway and Javier Luis Hurtado selected the work of artists who deploy a heady mix of humor, anger and sarcasm in their respective practices, all in defiance of society’s judgement…

Something Rotten in Sweden (#662)

San Diego ramps up its anti-whore pogroms:

More than 400 people were arrested in a three-day statewide sweep aimed at [harassing & impoverishing sex workers]…”Operation Reclaim and Rebuild” also resulted in the [arrest] of 28 [underage sex workers] and 27 women…142 male suspects were arrested on suspicion of solicitation, 238 suspects on suspicion of prostitution and 36 male suspects on suspicion of pimping…”This operation sends a clear message to those who would pay for sex in San Diego County,” [vomited out] Chief Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan…

Finding What Isn’t There (#672)

Are people really so stupid they can’t understand that calls to a hotline represent only the prevalence of beliefs, suspicions and paranoia, not actual crimes?

Reports of domestic human trafficking continued to increase in 2016…according to…the Polaris Project…Almost three-quarters of the calls were made in regards to [fantasized] sex trafficking [despite the fact that it’s only a small fraction of] labor trafficking…

The Mote and the Beam (#701)

More on the useful idiots who are trying to destroy the internet:

Lawsuits in New York and California are attacking an important tool protecting online free speech by alleging the interactive computer services…promote terrorism…Without Section 230 protections, innovators would not create online public forums for fear they would be held liable for terrorist attacks or every comment made on their websites…courts have repeatedly dismissed the actions citing Section 230, and rejecting allegations that social media companies provide material support.  At least one of the cases filed against Twitter has been dismissed twice.  The others are similarly unlikely to succeed…

The War Goes On 

We’re seeing more editorials critical of the War on Whores:

Whenever a liberal feminist politician talks to a socially conservative politician, no doubt they’re conspiring to harass sex work.  This truism revealed itself again as Sen. Dianne Feinstein…told…Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing that “human sex trafficking was the second largest criminal activity in the United States.”  Human trafficking costs are estimated at $9 billion a year…Since the drug trade is worth $100 billion, and Medicare fraud is estimated at $60 billion, Feinstein’s estimate was not in the same league, never mind ballpark.  She also repeated the debunked untruth that the “average age” of trafficking victims was 12-14 years.  How many six-year-olds do you see strutting on Fourth Street?  A Department of Justice study released in June 2016 concluded there could be as few as 4,500 underage youth in the sex trade, and only 15 percent had pimps.  Feinstein’s fake statistics fuel the growth of sex trafficking laws that punish actual adult working women and their clients to satisfy politicians’ lust for power…

An Example To the West (#708)

As glad as I am to see this story getting wider press, the use of minimizers like “some” or “not all” to mean “the vast majority” really grates on my nerves, as does the ignorant assertion that sex work is illegal in most countries (totally false, though most do have laws which allow cops to persecute us).  Bonus:  white women like Rachel Moran and Ashley Judd coming to India to negate the voices of tens of thousands of women as “a tiny minority”.  Note Judd’s incompetent parroting of Gloria Steinem’s moronic comments about “body invasion”, which makes it sound as though she shares arch-lunatic Sheila Jeffreys’ belief that intercourse is “unnatural”.

That Old Black Magic (#708)

It’s good to see at least a few judges recognizing these fantasies as such:

A mother accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her into prostitution has been acquitted after several inconsistencies emerged in the alleged victim’s evidence.  The complainant had previously told a jury she underwent a “voodoo process” in her home country during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Joy Imasogie…the alleged victim told the jury that she had stopped working as a prostitute in 2008…However…evidence…showed that the woman continued to work as a prostitute after this date…The woman told [bureaucrats] she was still working as a prostitute and that she advertised her services on the internet.  She also said she didn’t want help to leave that way of life.  The judge also noted that the alleged victim was found in the same house as the accused’s husband and €14,000 in cash on a date after she said she fell out with Ms Imasogie…

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[Jessica] McGraa’s death has prompted many to ask how we have created a climate in which sex workers call anyone but the police.  –  Frankie Mullin

Lying Down With Dogs

Melissa Ditmore on Russia’s terrible anti-whore policies:

Russian President Vladimir Putin…half [joked]…that…Russian sex workers are “of course the best in the world”…but…Russia’s regressive policies on sex work, LGBTQ people, and sex education are counter to good health.  LGBTQ people are stigmatized and discriminated against and face grave violence, sex work is prohibited, the most effective HIV prevention strategies for people who use drugs are against the law, and comprehensive sexuality education is not offered in schools…

The Mote and the Beam

Liz Brown was the only non-prohibitionist invited to appear on this Al Jazeera show; in this article she discusses the incredible ignorance of the other panelists, who call for more laws without even knowing what the current ones say.

An Example To the West

Two thousand signatures:

The National Network of Sex Workers has released a statement challenging the conference being organised by the “The Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International”…The statement has been signed by over 2000 sex workers in India who reject the conflation of trafficking with sex work, and the conflation of sex work with violence.  It calls for…an end to the use of morality to stigmatise and discriminate against sex workers…

Broken Record 

The broadest “gypsy whore” claim ever:

a new report from 2016 [redefines criteria to claim that] the number of human trafficking cases in [Florida] doubled in the last year…Florida’s reputation as a tourist destination means traffickers respond to the demand for sex tourism by trafficking victims to the state during tourist season…[prohibitionist] Bethany Gilot [publicly fantasized about]…the prevalence of sex tourism in the region…

I Swear To God

And yet “feminists” were perfectly happy when it was sex workers’ rights which were the forbidden topic:

Donald Trump signed [an] executive order…reinstating a ban on international aid…to nonprofits that provide abortions or promote information on them, regardless of what other services they offer…A…group of more than 100 public health, women’s issues, and civil liberties organizations have already issued a statement opposing the return of…”the global gag rule”…[the policy is very much like] the anti-prostitution pledge…[which] stipulated that no grant money could be used…to “provide assistance to any group or organization that does not have a policy explicitly opposing prostitution”…

That Old Black Magic

I’m not sure which aspect of this is the stupidest:

A woman accused of trafficking a Nigerian woman into the country and forcing her to work as a prostitute has claimed that the alleged victim was having an affair with her husband…The complainant previously told a jury that she underwent a “voodoo process” in Nigeria during which she swore she would not report the alleged trafficker, Joy Imasogie…once in Ireland she had to have sex with up to 10 men a day to pay off a €50,000 “debt”…arising from her being brought to Ireland…Imasogie said sometimes the woman would come to her house to do her hair in exchange for food but denied making her work as a prostitute…she…also claimed the mother of the alleged victim was using voodoo to take her husband away from her but “did not succeed”…

Monsters 

A 26-year-old Detroit man…[shot] a transgender woman in the face after paying her for sex.  Jason Lamar Hogan was charged…with [attempted murder]…She escaped and got treatment at Grace Hospital…

Paint By Numbers

“Dumb ‘awareness-raising’ stunts” is going to be the funniest appendix in my history of “sex trafficking” hysteria:

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay is urging you to drop an F-bomb.  No, not the swear word.  In this case, F stands for Friend…They’re using memes with a very serious message.  It’s something we don’t like to think is happening in our community: kids forced to be sex slaves.  But Florida is one of the top three states for human trafficking…Ken Gibson from the Crisis Center…says…“It’s little kids…who are being targeted by pimps”…

Checklist (#542)

Can this reporter actually be so credulous as to believe it takes 20 cops to check to see if a strip club is displaying the magical scrolls demanded by Florida politicians?

There was no dancing when deputies and code enforcement officers were at a strip joint called Icon.  Except for the 20 or so officials, the club was nearly vacant…But the deputies didn’t mind the empty stage, as they were there to ensure that the club was in compliance with a new county ordinance requiring anti-human trafficking signs in adult entertainment establishments…

The nauseating sound of bootlicking is deafening.

Perquisites (#582) 

Yawning.

…University of Louisville…director of basketball operations Andre McGee hired strippers and prostitutes as a way of gaining favor with high school recruits from 2010 to 2014.  The scandal broke wide open in 2015, when Katina Powell, who was in charge of organizing the women to bring to campus, published a book detailing the racket, titled Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen…

Surplus Women (#614) 

It will never be completely safe for any sex worker, or really any woman, to call the cops.  But we need to give the cops far fewer excuses to force interaction with sex workers:

Jessica…McGraa’s death sent waves of horror through the sex work community across the UK.  As an independent worker, advertising online, she was part of one of the fastest-growing sectors of the industry.  Her story was close to home for thousands of people working in similar circumstances.  How many of them would have called the police?…

To Molest and Rape rapist-cop-evan-cramer

Once again: if you think it matters whether a rapist cop was “on duty” at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:

Evan Cramer…pulled [a woman] over…for a minor traffic violation…[he said] she had multiple warrants out for her arrest and said she could avoid jail time if she [submitted to rape]…Cramer…then…[forced] the [woman] into his cruiser and [drove] her to a vacant lot where…he [raped her]…The woman then went to the hospital and reported the [rape]…

A Tale That Grew in the Telling (#705) 

Though this is mostly just the usual idiocy, note that “children” is defined as “people under 26”.

There are likely more than 313,000 victims of labor and sex trafficking in Texas, and roughly a fourth of them are children and people under the age of 26 who have been forced into prostitution…[fetishists] from…University of Texas…[pretend these wild exagerrations represent] “a conservative understatement of the prevalence of human trafficking in Texas”…

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Sex workers are literally dying because of [brothelkeeping] law.
–  Wendy Lyon

Whores and Wives

Let’s hope this means Snopes will start doing more to debunk “sex trafficking” lies:

Snopes.com’s founders, former husband and wife David and Barbara Mikkelson, are embroiled in a lengthy and bitter legal dispute in the wake of their divorce.  He has since remarried, to a former escort and porn actress who is one of the site’s staff members.  They are accusing each other of financial impropriety, with Barbara claiming her ex-husband is guilty of “embezzlement” and suggesting he is attempting a “boondoggle” to change tax arrangements, while David claims she took millions from their joint accounts and bought property in Las Vegas…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Could this bootlicking be any more pompous?

Like many other law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California, Long Beach police have turned their attention to eliminating the scourge of human trafficking…The department formed a task force and vowed to arrest people who profited from and exploited the sex trade…[except] when one of their own officers was accused of trying to exploit the illicit sex trade the department wants to stamp out…William Scott Holder…was arrested last year in a…sting in Corona…[but] remains employed by the department…

Check Your Premises

Remember that these statements are being made by supposedly rational adults who have the power to inflict violence on others at will:

[A confused & self-contradictory propaganda] notice from the Malheur County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office didn’t [make much sense]…“Victims of sex trafficking and prostitution are forced, coerced and manipulated into this lifestyle against their will…prostitutes…still may be charged no matter what…Because if you don’t charge them, then there’s no incentive to change…we don’t throw them out to the same manager, or pimp, if you will…Most often, they won’t [pretend the cop narrative is true], so you do everything you can to [force] them…to [pretend] that they were or are victims”…[cops pretended that] the 11 men charged with commercial sexual solicitation…responded to decoy ads police placed on “known sex trafficking websites” [even though there is no such thing]…

Profit from Panic 

Three quarters of a million no-strings dollars to spread propaganda & infantilize women:

The Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice, was awarded a three-year, $750,000 grant…from the U.S. Department of Justice…The charity’s victim assistance program partners directly with local law enforcement to help human trafficking victims become more independent…”We help them go from not being able to tie their shoes to being independent and able to sustain themselves,” [chief propagandist Chuck] Anderson said…Typical signs that someone may be a victim include signs of physical abuse, tattoos or brand marks, especially ones that say “property of,” and possessing large amounts of cash…

Wait, large amounts of cash?  I though the “pimps” took every penny?  I guess people who can’t tie their shoes can’t count, either.

Imagination Pinned Down kazaam-poster

Another example of how people’s memories can be rewritten by others:

…[many people]…recall…a movie called Shazaam…in the early Nineties …the movie starred the American stand-up comedian Sinbad…as an incompetent genie who granted wishes to two young children…[some claim] detailed scene-by-scene recollections of the film…hundreds of Redditors…have used the popular social news site to discuss their memories of Shazaam.  Together they have scoured the internet to find evidence that the movie existed but each has repeatedly come up empty-handed.  Sinbad himself has even taken to Twitter to deny that he ever played such a role…It all began in 2009 [when] an anonymous individual took to…Yahoo! Answers to pose its users a simple question. “Do you remember that…movie in the early 90s where sinbad the…comedian played a genie?”…it took another two years for somebody else to ask about it again online…last year…things took [off on Reddit]…In 1996, the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal played a genie who helped a young boy find his estranged father in a commercially unsuccessful film…[named] Kazaam

The Naked Anthropologist

Dr. Laura Agustín is back with a novel dramatizing the problems faced by migrants:

European borders are the gates of Hell, lurked over by hounds of police and organized crime…illegal migrants and smugglers are outsiders doing whatever it takes to make good, often by selling sex…In the realm of undocumented migration, knuckling under to thugs can be the sensible alternative to drowning at sea, and putting up with rotten jobs preferable to pointless lives back home…The Three-Headed Dog is international mystery in a downward-spiralling scenario for human mobility…

With Friends Like These…

You might be forgiven for thinking that an article which starts out like this would be pro-decriminalization:

Jamie Rosseland…remembers the day her mugshot and charge were published in a Jacksonville newsletter [ironically] called the Victim’s Advocate as part of a column called “Shame, Shame, Shame”…those publications fuel a stigma against women who are arrested for prostitution…

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong; the rest is a typical “whores are mindless victims” mess which quotes (among others) arch-prohibitionist Pete Holmes, the Seattle city attorney paid to lap up Swanee Hunt’s “end demand” vomit and puke it out again all over reporters.

The Mote and the Beam (#332)

Once the courts waver in slapping down attempts to destroy legal protections, it won’t be long before the vultures start circling:

The families of three fatally shot victims [from the Pulse nightclub in Orlando]…filed a lawsuit against Google, Twitter and Facebook…[pretending] the tech companies provided “material support” for the radicalization of Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired shooter Omar Mateen…The suit [pretends]…all three tech giants…”knowingly and recklessly” [chose not to censor]…accounts associated [by unnamed “authorities”] with ISIS…and allowed the extremist group “to use its social networks as a tool for spreading extremist propaganda, raising funds, and attracting new recruits”…

The most dangerous part of the suit is that Mateen, an adult, was magically “radicalized” against his will by these mind-control messages; i.e., they paint a disturbed murderer as the passive victim of hypnotic rays beamed through the internet.  Sound familiar?  This is what happens when you allow a precedent to be established that people are passive victims of anyone who can be “othered”, especially when the so-called villains are multi-billion dollar corporations who may be bullied into paying up because it’s cheaper in the long run than fighting these nuisance suits.

Soap Opera (#520) 

Just when you thought the “anti-pimp personal hygiene products” trope couldn’t get any stupider:

…America and Penelope, “The CyberCode Twins,” are developing Beacon of Hope…once activated, [it] can give authorities real-time updates on victims’ whereabouts.  The trackers are embedded into tampons and pads, which would be available from dispensers at highway rest stops, gas stations and casinos.  At the press of a button, a woman in trouble could get a tracker tampon and carry it in her purse or pocket…Beacon of Hope is part of a larger movement to show how tech can be used more broadly to combat…human trafficking…

To Molest and Rape rapist-pig-barrett-boeker

Once again: if you think it matters whether a costumed rapist was “on duty” or not at the time of the rape, you are part of the problem:

An assistant warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola…[committed] rape inside the prison walls.  Barrett Boeker…was charged with one count of second-degree rape…and [arrested]…[Boeker committed] the rape [while off duty]…on Nov. 30 at [his] home on Angola property…the…victim was “not an inmate”…

Traffic Circle (#675)

Wendy Lyon demonstrates that criminalization of sex workers via “brothel keeping” laws is not a mere police & prosecutorial misuse of such laws, but an intended use from the beginning:

…Supporters of the [Swedish model]…regularly insist…that [it]…“decriminalises” [sex workers]…On the rare occasions they’re pressed on it, they usually witter on about how this law is “intended to punish pimps”…that the law is…aimed at…sex workers themselves…can be proven clearly enough just by looking at how the law is actually used in real life…nearly all the reported prosecutions [in Ireland] have in fact been of sex workers, not of anyone managing…them…Go back to the original debates over the 1993 Act and you see very clearly that sex worker prosecutions are a feature, not a bug, of the brothel-keeping law – which was intended to address the public nuisance factor of brothels…it was clearly envisaged by the law, at the time it was introduced, that a sex worker would be prosecuted under it – even in her own home, if she allowed someone else to sell sex there.  This is not a law about pimps…

Too Close To Home (#682)

This is a man who claims he wants to “protect” women, and portrays the men we choose to have sex with as “sexual predators”:

New documents in an ongoing lawsuit against the King County Sheriff’s Department [reveal] that…Sheriff John Urquhart told investigators in his department to ignore a woman who [reported that] Urquhart raped her…[in] 2002…numerous people were made aware of the [report]…a deputy also complained that Urquhart and the woman had an affair but…the sheriff didn’t want that complaint documented.  Urquhart denies the allegations, [claiming] the woman [is mentally ill]…

That last is no surprise; Urquhart thinks women aren’t mentally competent to understand which sexual acts are consensual & which aren’t.

Power Play (#698)

Still think you don’t live in a police state?

Never let it be said that Kamala Harris gives up after being told her totally bogus legal crusade is totally bogus.  She’s now filed brand new charges against the execs who run Backpage.com — despite having the very same lawsuit thrown out a few weeks ago…Harris…knows that she has no legal basis for arresting the execs behind Backpage…because three years ago she signed a letter whining about how she had no legal authority to arrest Backpage because it’s (rightly) protected by Section 230 of the CDA…The press release from Harris claims that the reason for the new charges is that she’s “uncovered new evidence” but that’s a load of hogwash.  The new charges still include bogus “pimping” charges, but now also have a bunch of [bogus] “money laundering” charges as well…

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The raid of Backpage.com’s Dallas office and the arrest of its CEO is an election-year stunt, not a good-faith action by law enforcement.
–  Liz McDougall

For the past five years, pompous politicians have repeatedly attempted to bully and threaten Backpage into removing its designated escort ad section in the same way they terrorized Craigslist into doing it, and like all bullies they’ve grown increasingly crimson-faced and apoplectic as the Backpage has not only ignored their toothless threats, but beaten them at every turn in court.  The reason this has happened is that career politicians are narcissistic sociopaths who can’t grasp when they’re in the wrong and are no more capable of rethinking their tactics than a tribe of rather slow-witted gibbons might be; because Craigslist backed down after a bit of posturing and saber-rattling, naturally the politicians assumed the same schoolyard tactics would work on Backpage.  Unfortunately for them,

Craig Newmark is a shy, timid fellow who may have Asperger’s Syndrome and was unable to cope with tyrannical demands and false accusations from people who relish upsetting others.  So he simply shut down his “adult services” section, thus granting the witch hunters their empty symbolic victory and allowing the whores who advertise on Craigslist to return to the personals and therapeutic services sections where they posted their ads before the government demanded the creation of an “adult services” section in the first place…[however] Village Voice Media is not run by gentle, socially-awkward souls who shrink from confrontation, and its owners have no intention of running from this fight; some commentators have observed that they actually seem to relish it, and why shouldn’t they?  The attorneys general don’t have a legal leg to stand on, and they know it; they’re just trying to blow down paper targets with hot air…

Time after time after time after time after time, judges have slapped down attempts to hold Backpage liable for the content of its ads, and for good reason: if publishers (whether traditional or electronic) were responsible for third-party content, nobody would dare risk hosting such content (from newspaper ads to WordPress blogs) for fear of being sued out of existence.  But neither common sense nor the common good ever stopped a politician, so last week Kamala Harris, the attorney general of California (who is running for US Senate) conspired with the attorney general of Texas to commit the blatant crime of falsely arresting Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer.  Though the headline writer is a slackjawed moron who uses the phrase “sex trafficking” to mean “sex work”, the author of this article agrees with my analysis:

It takes a lot to turn a publisher of sex ads into a First Amendment hero.  But the attorney general of California has managed the feat.  By charging Carl Ferrer…with pimping and sex trafficking in minors, Kamala Harris has seriously breached the constitutional wall meant to protect the free press.  Ferrer — and the two controlling shareholders of the online classified marketplace Backpage — aren’t charged with actually arranging sex for pay.  They’ve been criminally charged based on a claim that Backpage is designed to, and does, publish third-party ads for sex trafficking.  On this theory, essentially any publication that sells ads could be outlawed — and that’s almost any publication on earth…

Harris has knowingly and with malice aforethought arrested a publisher for publishing; that makes her guilty of several federal crimes I can think of, and I’m sure a creative prosecutor could come up with a lot more.  Not that she’s ever likely to be charged; witch-hunters rarely are, certainly not during the witch hysteria and not generally after it’s over either.  The reason is evident from that asinine headline and from the subtext of this article in the generally anti-whore publication hypocritically named Vice; though it quotes several sex worker rights activists, it gives just as much space to prohibitionist propaganda and is laced through with garbage like this:

Backpage notorious among law enforcement…the risk of physical violence or rape among sex workers who advertise…online is…still ever present…Backpage has become synonymous with sex trafficking…E.S. who said she was a forced into prostitution on the site when she was 13…The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has also said there has been a more than 800 percent increase over the last five years in reports of suspected child sex trafficking, with much of it happening online…Backpage made it easy to earn cash fast, which isn’t necessarily a good thing: If it wasn’t for the website, [one incarcerated sex worker] says, she might not have fallen into sex work in the first place…

With that kind of attitude so common among the people who are supposed to be questioning government pronouncements, is it any wonder Harris felt emboldened to her blatantly banana-republic actions?  Which, by the by, have now extended to Backpage’s owners:

All three top executives of Backpage.com are being held without bond in a jail in Sacramento, California, on sex-crime charges.  Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, listed as owners of the website through a Dutch corporation, were booked late Monday…Liz McDougall, a First Amendment attorney who represents Backpage…[explained that] the charges were…”flatly illegal.  They ignore the holdings of numerous federal courts that the First Amendment protects the ads on Backpage.com.  The actions…also violate Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act preempting state actions such as this one and immunizing web hosts of third-party created content”…

All three men were granted bail yesterday afternoon after a secret hearing in which a judge slapped down the state’s argument that all of their money is contaminated by sex rays so they couldn’t use it to post bond.  Lacey & Larkin are going to fight this evil lunacy, and they’re no strangers to being arrested on bullshit charges by megalomaniacal politicians; Loony Joe Arpaio tried that in 2007, and when the dust settled Lacey & Larkin were awarded $3.75 million because of it.  So here’s hoping that history repeats itself, and that this time the award is at least 10 times as high and is accompanied by criminal charges against their persecutors.

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